President Uhuru Kenyatta has outlawed the export of maize until the drought, which is being described as the worst to hit the country since 2011, comes to an end.
Uhuru, who was speaking at a rally in Isiolo town, also ordered the arrest of unscrupulous businessmen who are hoarding maize in anticipation of a hike in prices.
“Action would be taken against traders found hoarding maize. You cannot take advantage of the needy to make profits,” he warned.
He said that his government was doing everything possible to ensure that the food crisis is addressed, adding that they were preparing a supplementary budget to address the food shortage.
At least two million Kenyans are at the risk of being affected by hunger due to falling short rains in 2016. The drought started in February last year with North and South Pokot counties being the worst hit but has since spread to 11 more counties according to the latest report by the government.
The government is already distributing food relief to 1.5 million Kenyans who are facing starvation. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has already been allocated Sh230 million to effect the livestock uptake programme meant to support pastoralists and dairy farmers in the affected areas as the livestock sector is the hardest hit.
Water rationing as Ndakaini water levels drop
Nairobians have also been forced to contend with water rationing following the drop of water levels in Ndakaini Dam in Murang’a County, which dropped to a record lowest since the year 2009 dropping from 70million m3 to 29 million m3, representing a drop of 41.5%.
“The city consumes about 550,000 cubic meters daily but will onwards get about 462,000 cubic meters. The changes will help the company ration water and carry out reviews every two weeks,” said Nairobi water company managing director Philip Gichuki.
The rationing is expected to carry on till April when the long rains are expected.